stylist Q&A

whats in a wardrobe stylist kit

August 25, 2015

The question that all young, blossoming fashion stylists always ask is “Whats in a wardrobe stylist kit, anyway?” Many stylists aren’t so eager to share what items help them best because the market is competitive and they’ve likely compiled their kit through years of trial and error. Though, with the quick-paced and constantly changing nature of a styling gig, compiling the perfect kit is essential if you want to be able to work fast and keep up with adaptations throughout the job.

From years of experience and impromptu fashion miracles, here are whats in my wardrobe stylist kit. My must-have items that ensure that you’re ready to combat any curveballs while on the job:

  • whats in a wardrobe stylist kitTopstick is a double-sided tape that is used to secure hairpieces to the scalp. I recommend the white/clear tape with 1-2 day bonding ability, because it’s cheaper, gets the job done, and will be easy to remove.
  • Glue Dots are adhesive dots that are great for small, quick touch-ups. Do the same job as top stick but are smaller, easier to take off of the sticky back. Do not get extra strength. These are more helpful working in studio than location for me
  • Zip-ties– good for tying shoes back together, keeping things together
  • Tagging Gun– for reattaching tags
  • Clear Garment Bags-it is really helpful seeing what it in your garment bags. Other wise I use tape and write what’s in each bag
  • Clamps, Clothespins, and Safety Pins are essential for getting the clothing to fit the model. Clamps and clothespins can be applied to the model on the side that is opposite from the camera, and for modifications on the front—safety pins! Black safety pins are great when working with dark colored fabrics, but beware of pinholes in the merchandise!
  • Lint Roller– hair, lint, and fuzz—be gone! And always have extra tape rolls ready
  • Tape/Duck Tape– eliminates the need to use pins (and puncture a hole in any merchandise), but it also serves as a great tool for marking your rolling racks and hangers. Tape is also handy for whatever bizarre, impossible to foresee issues that can (and usually do) arise. Masking Tape, gaffers tape… you will use it all over time.
  • Nude Bras/ Underwear– a fashion shoot is constantly evolving, so it is best to keep undergarments a nude color in case any translucent clothing is suddenly used for a photo. It’s your job to be prepared, even when the model isn’t. In my kit I have a couple strapless, as well as regular, bras in a range of sizes just in case a model shows up unprepared.
  • Boobs and Nipple Covers– seem like something that should be left up to the model, but in the end, not all models remember to bring the right gear, so having boobs and bras in all difference sizes (along with their companion, the nipple cover) you should be set! Some clients want more cleavage than others, or sometimes a garment looks better filled out
  • Needles & Thread– work great for on-the-spot alterations like buttons. PRO TIP: fishing wire makes for a great clear thread. I also buy the pre-threaded needles.
  • Scissors– a good pair to cut heavy-duty fabric and small ones to cut little threads
  • Stain Remover – shout wipes are the easiest for me to transport but getting stains out of stuff is part of the job
  • Lint Rollers– you should have a lint roller and refills at all time in your kit
  • Camera– to take pictures of all your outfits, I use my IPhone but when your IPhone goes dead it’s a problem. A cordless charger is something I have considered
  • Measuring tape
  • Hangers– both pants and shirt
  • Steamer
  • Beauty kit– filled with Band-Aids, deodorant; polish remover, toothbrush & paste, sunscreen, maxi-pad products
  • Rolling Racks– they sell lots of different versions, but I would recommend buying the commercial ones that are around $80 bucks. (you will need to get these from a display store)
  • Glam Bags-are awesome for prepping what the model will be wearing throughout the shoot. Loose tags, accessories, and any other stray items that can get caught up in the frenzy that is a photo shoot now have a home in their glam bag. Keeping these items together are not only important to the outfit and photo, but they are critical when you are ready to return the clothes you borrowed. (I have also used zip-lock bags for when I run out of glam bags)
  • Ikea Blue bags– great for lunging lots of stuff (especially shoes)
  • Face Mask– to cover the model’s face and preserve make-up while taking clothes on and off, plus it helps from getting on your wardrobe.
  • Super Glue is great for speedy repairs that cannot be sewn
  • Office Supplies– sounds a little strange for this post, but half of what makes a good stylist is being organized. I use note cards to tape shoes and write models down, post-it-notes for who is wearing what, paper clips to hold receipts together, a stapler to staple my return receipt to the bag, and a highlighter to cross off items that we have already shot. Notebook for taking notes and making lists, hole puncher to put copies in binders, binders to keep all your information together for the particular job your on…etc etc
  • Rubber bands– adjusting belts, and clothing, and grouping things together
  • Rain Poncho– cause you never know when it’s going to rain and when it hits you want to be prepared
  • Sharpies– great for labeling, and works wonders on dark denim stains and black jeans
  • Jewelry Shine Cloth– I can’t remember the last time I used mine…. But I have one just in case
  • Jewelry Hanger– I do a lot of lifestyle shoots and keeping my jewelry together nicely makes my life so much easier. Getting the jewelry hangers with zippers are a must since you will likely take them for location to location, and without zippers stuff will fall out
  • Water bottle– to spray clothes before you steam them (helps get really hard wrinkles out), or mix water and vodka to get smells out of clothes
  • Different color camisoles for women
  • Blow dryer– from leaky steamers… wet spots suck (another tip is to put a socks over the steamer if it is spouting)
  • Robes/ Slippers– So models don’t eat lunch in your wardrobe…. Truth be told I rarely have this on hand because it is so bulky compared to everything I have to bring. But depending on the job you are doing it’s something to consider
  • Wardrobe Changing Tent– I have used my changing tent so many times, really comes in handy on location. I do have trouble breaking my down… so it is currently laying down flat in the trunk of my car. Just want to warn ya…folding it down to fit in the bag is impossible for me personally.

If you are a new stylist don’t feel the need to buy everything on this list. Really it is trail and error. I would hate for you buy all this stuff and not use it since if you don’t get the opportunity to work a certain type job. For example, when I got hired to work on a rain shoot (they brought in a rain pump…ekk) I realized I needed a really good raincoat as part of my kit or else I was going to freeze and be drenched for 10 hours. I also bought giant zip-lock bags to pack the clothes in since it was waterproof, which worked great for putting the wet clothes in. My point being you don’t know what your going to need until a certain job arises.

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